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can I legally refuse to pay rent until it's fixed?

We rent a home and when we moved in the landlord gave a notice that the water was not over the limit for any chemicals but it is absolutely horrible. Whenever someone even washes their hands the entire house literally reeks like poop. I refuse shower or give my son a bath here. I don't even give my dog the water the smell is so bad. On top of it the house doesn't hold heat at all. We have to stay at my moms any time it gets bellow zero. (which in northern MN is a lot) I know people will tell me to just move but I can't afford anything else right now. Pipeliners are coming through so renters are all jacking up the price and offering short term leases for them.

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Asked by jenae_gist at 8:25 PM on Jan. 12, 2010 in Health

Level 18 (4,796 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • you need to get someone to come check the water, prove that it's contaminated and THEN you could refuse payment.

    there's nothing you can do over the fact that it's not well insulated. you just have to deal with that. get a heater.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:28 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Does the landlord refuse to fix the problem? If so I would refuse until he gets his a** over there and fixes the problem, it's not like your living there for free, ya know you deserve to be able to utilize your house 24/7/365

    Answer by jsimonds220 at 8:31 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • ew..
    look up renter's hotline....
    there should be state by state info about your rights as a renter. you should send an official certified letter requesting that the repairs be made within a timely manner..
    they are required to fix it, but you can't refuse to pay the rent until you have taken the proper steps, and gotten yourself proper documentation...
    good luck...

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:38 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • First if it is city water there is nothing the landlord can do. If it is well water then you need to get it tested and prove that it is bad before you can do anything like withholding rent. Often times well water is perfectly drinkable, but may smell or look terrible and if that is the case then there is nothing you can do except live with it. As for holding heat that is not something you can withhold rent for. If you really don't want to stay with your mother then buy some of the plastic for windows and put some blankets over them and then basically live in one room when it is that cold so you don't have to heat the entire house. As long as there is a heater there isn't much a judge will do for a poorly insulated house.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:43 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Call your local renters rights office; you should be able to get the number from city hall.

    Answer by rkoloms at 8:17 AM on Jan. 13, 2010

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